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Great Christmas tree decor starts with the right Christmas tree. While there are some good looking artificial Christmas tree options available we think that a real live Christmas tree is hard to beat, both for its looks and that wonderful Christmassy scent that no amount of artificial air fresheners or scented candles can quite replicate.
When choosing a live Christmas tree – a trip that can be a wonderful experience in itself – there are certain things you should look for to help you find the right tree for your home and your holiday decorating plans. Here is a closer look at some of them.
Measure Your Available Space
Before you visit the tree farm or local Christmas tree lot, be sure to measure the room in which you plan to put your tree. Of course, you should measure the height of your ceiling, and add an extra 12 to 18 inches for the tree stand at the bottom and a star or angel on top. But don’t forget to measure the width of the space. If your space is limited and you need to squeeze a tree into a corner, choose a narrower tree variety. Be aware that outside at the tree farm, a tree might not look as big as it truly is. Stick to your measurements!
Do a Freshness Check
Many pre-cut Christmas trees have been sitting on a truck for a week or more before they make it to your local Christmas tree vendor. When a tree has been cut for too long, it dries out and will lose its needles more quickly. So, check for freshness when choosing a tree. Run your hand across a branch. If the needles come off easily, the tree may not last until Christmas. Also, bend a branch and see if it snaps back. If it doesn’t, the tree may already be fading.
Shake It About a Bit
Before you commit to a tree, give it a really good shake or bang the trunk onto the ground several times. If needles cascade off, you know it’s too dry. If your tree has already passed muster and you’re about to bring it indoors, give it another shake to shed any loose needles before you bring it into your house.
Understand Live Christmas Tree Species Differences
Some species of Christmas trees have sturdier branches than others. If you have a lot of heavy ornaments, you’ll want a tree with more robust branches, like a Frasier fir or Colorado blue spruce. If your ornaments are lighter, you can go with a variety that has softer needles, and a bit more flexible branches, like a balsam fir.
The Colorado blue spruce is so named for the bluish color of its needles. It is often sold as a living tree, which can be planted outside after the holidays. Once the tree’s been cut, however, the needles fall off relatively quickly. Still, the blue spruce has a nice pyramid shape with strong branches that can hold heavy ornaments.
The Douglas fir is one of the most common Christmas tree types sold in the United States. It has soft, shiny needles that grow on all sides of its branches. The tree grows very symmetrically and it is particularly full. But if the branches have been sheared, it can become too full (and difficult to decorate). For the sweet aroma alone, this evergreen is worth considering.
The balsam fir has two-toned needles that are dark green on top, silver underneath. Its symmetrical shape and evergreen smell make it a wonderful live Christmas tree. Be aware, however, that balsam fir trees have flexible branches—not the best choice for heavier ornaments. But the needles will last for a long time, so if you like to put your tree up the day after Thanksgiving, this could be your best best.
The Fraser fir is famed for its amazing scent. It also has a delightful shape and holds its needles well, even after cutting (assuming it’s well watered). The needles are a silvery-green color, about one inch long, and softer than those of many other evergreens. Its sturdy branches are able to hold heavier ornaments.
The Scots pine is known for holding its needles, even after becoming dry. Those needles are sharp, though, so beware while decorating! If the tree has been sheared for shaping, the branches may be very close together, making it even more difficult to decorate. The dark green needles of the Scots pine are from one to three inches in length, and its branches are sturdy and suitable for ornaments of all weights and sizes.
And don’t forget, if you could use a helping hand with your holiday decorating the very special elves at Just Organized by Taya are available to help in any way they can, in person or remotely! Contact us here to learn more or book an appointment.